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Minutes from ME

YOUNG READERS AND THE WORLD WIDE WEB

Rabbit Screens Row

ADD GRAPHICS TO THE LINKS WEB PAGE

Pictures always increase the enjoyment of World Wide Web browsing and bring students' attention to the task at hand. Yes, the balance between engagement and distraction must also be maintained and explained to the children. Here's the opportunity! Include simple graphics in the interface links page being built here, a successor to YOUNG READERS AND THE WORLD WIDE WEB, Part 2. Build A "Click to Links" Web Page. Begin a discussion with the children on how to handle the many, many flashing graphics which will appear on otherwise useful, entertaining web sites. The consensus I find is that a) of course the frantic pictures cannot be ignored, but b) they become boring quickly and c), clicking on the links probably leads to more interesting stuff anyway.

Thanks to the variety of free graphics available on the Web, appropriate illustrations are available for almost every topic imaginable. Adding downloaded graphics to a web page is a simple process with very satisfying results.

CREATE THE HTML PAGE

The theme is spring and the new topic in first grade is RABBITS, (what else?).

Use a simple word processing program, such as Wordpad or Notepad (which creates a file in a plain, text-only format) and key the document listed below. Or re-open the file previously created in "Links to Click" and use the same word processing program to make the changes and additions shown here in blue type.

The required text follows ....

<HTML>
<BODY BGCOLOR="#FFFFCC" TEXT="#007700"><BR>
<FONT SIZE=+2><BR>
<FONT FACE="Comic Sans MS"><BR>
<EMBED SRC="peter-cottontail.mid" AUTOSTART=TRUE HIDDEN=TRUE>
<P ALIGN=LEFT><IMG SRC="rabbit_runs.gif"><BR>
<P ALIGN=LEFT>SPRING IS SPRINGING!!</P>
<P ALIGN=LEFT><FONT SIZE=+1>Click on a line below to find out about:<BR>
<P ALIGN=LEFT><A HREF="http://www.geocities.com/Petsburgh/1451/breeds2.html"> 1. Rabbit Pictures.</A><BR>
<P ALIGN=LEFT><A HREF="http://www.geocities.com/Petsburgh/1451/general2.html">2. Rabbit Care.</A><BR>
<P ALIGN=LEFT><A HREF="http://www.peterrabbit.co.uk/templates/indexstart.cfm">3. The Peter Rabbit Web Site.</A><BR>
<P ALIGN=LEFT><A HREF="http://www.banfieldbeach.com/beach/bunny.html">4. The Interactive Bunny Book.</A><BR>
<P ALIGN=LEFT><IMG SRC="baloonz.gif"><BR>
</BODY>
</HTML>

Save this new text document as a plain text file with a recognizable name. Is rabbits.html a good choice?

Open this saved file with your browser software and the screen shown next appears. In addition to the text a MIDI version of "Here comes Peter Cottontail" is playing, the rabbit is running on the spot like crazy and the balloons are bouncing up and down in unison!

HTML CODING EXPLAINED

In the second line of HTML coding above the color definitions for background and text are not the basics, such as yellow or red, used previously. Instead the RGB HEX COLOR CHART has been consulted and the hexadecimal codes for pale yellow (#FFFFCC) and mid-green (#007700) are placed in the text.
Links 1 through 4 are blue not because of any coding in the document but because blue is the choice I have set for the browser on my own computer.

In line 5 the name (with suffix) of the MIDI music file is included in the link, the actual file is stored in the same folder as this HTML document.

Line 6 is completely new, being the code which links to the .gif animation file of that "running nowhere" rabbit.

The spring-like comment is the only change in line 7.

The remaining lines, up to the final three, contain changes for the hypertext links and content descriptions of the four rabbit-related sites to be offered for the children's information and enjoyment.

There is a full new line near the end linking to the baloonz.gif animated graphic file.

Do remember that linked audio and graphic files, in this case peter-cottontail.mid, rabbit_runs.gif and baloonz.gif, must be in the same folder as the HTML file in order to link properly.

EMBELLISH THE HTML PAGE

The building of HTML pages to delight the little ones is so much fun why stop here? Consolidate the work done here with that from the previous Minutes from ME to yield an HTML document containing the information from both.

Insert the following two lines in the rabbits.html document from above:

<P ALIGN=LEFT>From the last time ...<BR><BR>
<A HREF="/qa99/me12/hermit.html">Hermit Crab Topics.</A>
(it is assumed that the previous document was saved as hermit.html)

Save this new document and name it rabbitsplus.html. Make sure that the previous files (hermit.html and dreidel.mid) are in this same folder.

Now set the new HTML document as the home page for the browser software in the first grade computers and the topics are immediately "there" when the machine's browser is opened.

Click here to see how the new "rabbitsplus" HTML document will appear in a browser and do check the links there to see some fascinating web sites about rabbits.

IN CLOSING ...

Consolidating successive hotlists into one large HTML document is just one option. Another choice is to keep separate files, appropriately named, and replace them as the home page according to season, month or holiday topic. The monthly system is my choice since it "keeps the kettle boiling" as the children see pleasant monthly surprises. Saving these pages for recycling through next year's first grade, in true "teacher fashion" doesn't hurt a bit!

Expand the design by matching each different web page to a theme with different colors, sounds and graphics then throw in extra seasonal links just for fun. Explain your choices to the children and ask them to critique the web pages they use. What do they like or dislike about them? Would they do it that way? Include their opinions in their own web sites.

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